comScore Spiny Mice Can Slough Off Skin, Regrow It in a Matter of Days | The Mary Sue

Insanely Quick Healing Abilities of African Spiny Mice Remind Us of Someone

Bloody Good Fun

Nature can just be spectacularly badass sometimes. That’s the case with two species of spiny mouse that, scientists have discovered, can regenerate their skin, with no scarring, in a matter of days.

Healing powers of this sort aren’t uncommon in the animal world—salamanders and starfish can regrow lost limbs, for example–but the abilities of the Kemp’s spiny mouse and Percival’s spiny mouse are unique among mammals. When attacked, or even just handled by researchers, the “self-flaying” skin of these mice easily sloughs off (eurgh), leaving them with gaping wounds and up to 60 percent less skin along their backs than they should have.

Handy, then, that it grows back so quickly. Within a day the wounds stop bleeding, scab over and shrink by nearly two-thirds. Within three days, voilà, brand new skin. And not scar tissue, either. We’re talking scar-free regeneration.

So what does this mean for us normal, non-mutant humans? One of the most critical elements of regeneration is the formation of a blastema, which is basically a mass of dividing cells. Now that scientists have a blastema-enabled mammal to study, we’re one step closer to human regeneration of body parts.

(Not entire bodies. That’s a whole different franchise.)

(via: Discover Magazine)

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